Hello ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls (hopefully with your parents approval since this game is rated T), to my first thread and guide on completing the frustrating and illusive Saboteur mission on Advanced difficulty with 4-5 players. I will try to keep this guide humorous for those who are about to go on this journey of a novel (the comedic fluff is how I keep my sanity). I hope people find this helpful and if you have any pointers that I do not cover, please feel free to comment as this is a discussion forum and knowledge is power.
I decided to make this guide just now after getting out of a Gold on the mission with a rag-tag team with characters that I’ve seen get through it multiple times on Advanced. This guide will both cover strategy on the map as well as my very strongly recommended team composition, broken down as best I can for each character.
This may seem a little weird and like a resume but I can’t tell you how many times I’ve watched or read guides usually ending up wondering how experienced the player actually is. I don’t intend to brag here since I have just been sitting at home no-life playing this game for the past month since I don’t have a job and it’s my summer going into my senior year of college (first world problems)
- 282 hours invested in the game where I’d say about 50-60% is PvE time
- 206 completed missions, with golds on every mission on both Normal and Advanced
- I have “mastered” 15 characters including the ones I’m going to try and detail in this guide
- 50 unique Legendaries, 21 of which were drops, rest are character specifics or from Epic or Legendary loot packs. (and you guys said the drop rates were low!)
The Mission and the Most Common Problems I’ve Experienced
The level starts out with you spawning on a floating block with a narrow bridge toward the facility. You may laugh like I always do when people immediately run forward after spawning and run right off the block to die. I did it my first time and it’s typically how I pick out someone who hasn’t done the mission before. This is my plug now–if you have not completed this mission on Normal, please do before trying it on Advanced I know many people who are true believers in playing on the hardest difficulty in games right off the bat because they are hardcore badasses who need to throw the controller in frustration to let them know they are having fun…but please, I’m begging you for everyone who knows these missions’ mechanics to please learn the mission first. Oh and this guide doesn’t totally count as knowing it, so go try it yourself.
The first room you enter will have a few baddies to clear and the core will be more on one side of the room than the other. There are turrets available to be purchased on either side of the room and a trap down the middle. Buying these aren’t usually very important unless you feel swamped after the first 2 waves, but if you are going to buy one, always buy a turret before a trap. I am a firm believer that a thumper turret is worth 5 traps. And yes, thumper turrets on every campaign mission always. This is because they have range, damage groups, and slow. If a group fails on this first room, it’s usually because everyone spreads out and gets caught in a game of “let me pick you up at the cost of sucking up this incoming grenade to knock me and another person down.” you’ll usually sweep this part by doing two things: staying between the core and where Supervisor Varl is staring at you with hungry eyes through his window / keeping enemies out of that area and burning down Supervisor Varl while he is suffering from carpal tunnel at his keyboard for ~30 seconds after the doors to his room go down at the end of the third wave. Bad things seem to happen quickly when he gets loose from his room and mine turrets start coming out to play.
After finishing the first area and Nova “hacks” the door to a room that can be dicey. There is a warp anchor outside of the door to the next area that I’d recommend you shoot down since you can see it from the door you enter. Another common tip I find myself giving – Unless you’re going for a challenge that popped up to kill X that only spawns from this warp anchor, destroy warp anchors ASAP to limit the flow of enemies. Take your time through this area and it shouldn’t be too bad.
Out of that room, everyone should take the jump pad together because when you do, a bunch of Varelsi spawn just down the stairs. I have seen a few times where someone ran ahead, went down, and then we were all trapped up/wiped at the jump pad spawn by skulks making it rain their black tar on us. After killing all the varelsi, keep going forward and don’t fan out to prevent having three warp anchors-worth of thralls pummel you down. Kill the one down the middle then pick a side and take it down as a group unless you are coordinated enough to split into 2 groups that can handle their own. It’s worth noting that after destroying a shard, a few more adds do come out of the middle area door. Once both shards are destroyed, you now have access to the second defense area.
The second defense area is the easiest in my opinion. I don’t believe I have ever lost the mission on it (but sometimes I wished I had with the amount of time lost getting to the third to just lose anyway) There are 2 turrets that can be build on little islands off either side of the room as well as traps closest to the core on either side. Usually the traps aren’t necessary but the turrets make what was an easy defense into “asleep at the wheel” easy. There is also drones you could buy but I strongly recommend you skip wasting shards on getting one as it will have no work to do. The Varelsi Maligner boss at the end of the third wave just has spooky slowing tentacles that come from the sky and a knockback - yawn.
The next area has two walkways that will have more warp anchors and one or two green-goblin-like thralls to deal with. Simply go down one side as a team, stand on the shard pad, then come back up the other side to stand on the shard pad to extend the bridge. You will be met by some thralls who will come at you with force that will typically knock one or two teammates off the narrow walkway unless you position yourself in a way where people can back up as they are getting charged. Immediately after, there will be a great deal of varelsi skulks spawned for you to take a lawnmower to as well as a few hunters, marksmen, and one varelsi who is just a culmination of skulks who thought they were power rangers. Clearing out these guys opens the door to the final defense area.
DO NOT GO IN THE FRONT DOOR. It’s a trap! You will very likely be quickly overwhelmed with the numbers of enemies you will be thrown. Instead go to the left side and take the lift up to the overlook where you can kill off the few enemies that spawn up there and buy a thumper turret overlooking the dumb enemies who were expecting you to walk in the front door. If you are coordinated, you can even have a group go on the right side as there is a door over there that leads up to a room where you can jump up against the wall to be able to buy another thumper turret on the opposite side of the room from the first turret to make things go by quicker. Then just stick up on the overlooking side area(s) killing enemies as they trickle up until they all run out. Now the room is ready to be prepped.
Hopefully up until now you were smart with your shards and didn’t blow them all on legendaries that don’t apply to your character. You will want to have those two thumper turrets up and make sure they are up until the end of time. You will want all the traps up and none of them to be flame traps. Flame traps are just fodder for enemies to kill in 5 seconds and move on. The damage is abysmal and they are a waste of shards in my opinion. I haven’t found a perfect science on where to put flash and where to put temporal, but I like to put temporal in front of the entrance to the core as well as in the back at the top of the stairs on both sides, then flash on the side of the core and at the bottom / front of the room. Temporal slows enemies while flash blinds them and damages shields. Now if you were good and brought along a free shard generator, picked up shards from the explosive shard barrels, and weren’t a big spender on the last two defense points, then you may have a bit of spare change after this. Make sure you will have enough to re-purchase a few traps/turrets, then go grab either a repair or temporal drone. Give time to the defensive characters to put down their traps/rifts/sunspots/owls/shields around the outside of the core and then start it up.
The next three waves of defending will be pretty hectic. I would personally say the second wave is the hardest, followed by the third and then the first, though none are very forgiving. The core health is a cruel joke that is only made more funny due to the fact that it can be hit from a multitude of areas you may not be ready to deal with. The biggest tips I can give for defending are:
~ Don’t stand in the core area. Some enemies have splash damage and can hit the core while also hitting you. And if you go down in the core, you can get stuck in that nasty game I referenced in part 2.
~ Don’t all huddle together in one area. Very similar reasons and there are enemies spawning everywhere that need their attention grabbed. I find it good to have 2-3 people holding up the area just outside the core entrance by upkeeping their defenses and the rest going out and picking off big guys before they get close and make it a game of which enemy to focus. Speaking of which…
~ This is the order of priority:
~1. Scaven: I don’t care if Rendain himself spawned and is running to the core, take out any scaven you run across. They are fast; they are slippery; and they do tons of damage. I swear one will take down the core before Nova can finish her dialogue. Every scaven you leave unchecked is on its way to kill you, your family, your family’s thumper turrets, and the core…but not always in that order. Pop them in the head to take them out quickly (duh).
~2. Other small enemies such as thrall bombers and skulks. They are even easier to kill and do nearly as much damage. They can squeeze by your defenses with their speed so watch out.
~3. I would make this a tie between the big varelsi gunhulk-like enemies, varelsi disruptors/channelers, and big thralls as it depends on how close they are to the core as well as their position. Disruptors/ channelers most likely take precedence in most situations since they can go invincible every other 2 seconds (annoying) while floating closer to the core to use their spike channels of death to decimate you and the core.
~4. Everything else. If it’s up on a ledge firing at the core, kill it. Simple enough rules of engagement.
Now if you made it through all three waves, then congratulations! You now have a pretty simple boss fight to do against Foreman Grall. Now make sure you have at least two fingers crossed at all times when you are fighting him that a legendary will drop (Looking at you, Boots of the Brute) because you don’t know the next time you will get to this part will be or how many wipes in there will be in between. There will be two times that he will shield himself and spawn thrall phantoms that you can just kite around and kill, followed by some other minor varelsi adds. Just make sure you are not near him when you kill off the last of the adds as his shield will explode for an incredible amount of damage. After he drops the shield a second time, enjoy as he shrivels down to the size of a grape while you DPS him down with great vengeance and fury after that 3-round gauntlet of hell he put you through. Then run out back to the ship, but don’t forget the free chest along the way right in the middle of the walkway.
And that’s it. Now onto the team composition that I had today that worked well (despite my doubts since 2 of the other guys were pretty low CR -> shame on me) along with who I’d see as a good 5th character to make it easier. Note I’m only speculating how the other players on my team were playing as I was busy doing my own thing and we didn’t have mics (which made me even more impressed). I have “mastered” all these characters, though, so I am familiar with things that would be handy for this mission.
This probably isn’t too large of a surprise. Kleese is incredible with any defense missions due to his energy rifts. They both sustain allies and hurt enemies. Set up a nice little network of rifts just outside of the all 3 of these defense areas and tend to them like a gardener. Zap down shields on shielded enemies and throw a black hole to pull enemies away / toward something.
Noteworthy Helix Choices: Rift Network at lvl 4 to be able to link up all your rifts to deal amplified damage and shield output. Heal Chair at lvl 5 because you’ll be close-quarters for most of the mission and you may as well have a Miko heal beam on your hip for any allies you bump into. Bulk Savings at lvl 6 to make a square of death. Quick Pulse at lvl 9 to make it harder for those quick little bastards to just scamper on by your rifts.
Gear: Free Shard Generator (FSG)- I recommend this for every character but not all, as that would probably be an overkill of shard income. Gear that increases heal power or skill power or survivability gear if you find yourself an un-savvy Kleese.
He is a valuable character on every mission between his excellent DOT AOEs and his stealth revives. Not much else to explain. Drop grenades in groups, pew pew everything, and stealth when things go south. Chances are you’ll be running around during the waves to take out the big guys before they come in close or using grenades/ult on or near the cores to peel off the ones that get away.
Noteworthy Helix Choices: Impact Trigger at lvl 1 because you don’t have time to bleed or wait for other to either. Incendiary Grenade at lvl 2 because you never don’t pick it. Tactical Espionage Action at lvl 4 to allow you to get around to more teammates if there are multiple down. Operation Sneaky Ghost at lvl 9 for the same reason as the last one. I do not know for sure if his ult works in the final defense area if you don’t pick the space lasers, so if someone could clarify that would be great.
Gear: FSG and gear that increases skill damage or recoil/reload speed if you have problems with gunning enemies in their crits.
Ambra’s been the recipient of a lot of flak lately for being an “over-nerfed” or “unexciting” character, which I will not go into in this thread because I disagree and was sad to put her on the shelf after mastering her. Her sunspots work well next to Kleese’s rifts. The rifts protect the sunspots and the sunspots amplify the damage for the rifts…it’s like another cute symbiotic talking inanimate object Disney movie waiting to happen. She tends to them much like Kleese does his rifts, topping them off and replacing the badly bruised ones. Her solar wind can be made to back off enemies and her ult is more AOE madness.It’s a shame there are no guardians on this level because she tears them up with her kit.
Noteworthy Helix Choices: Sunspotter at lvl 1 because you want those damn scaven to tuck their shirts in or else kleeses rifts will for them. Blessing of the Sun at lvl 2 because your sunspots are no use to you being consumed every 2 seconds by the millions of things flying by. Stellar Ritual at lvl 3 to be able to give your sunspots the electrolytes they need to grow. Radiant Gale or Ritual of Repulsion at lvl 4 to be able to knock enemies away from the core if you have to. Radiant Halberd at lvl 7 to make you into able to pick off enemies before they come and f*ck up your garden (works best with Ambra’s Legendary).
Gear: FSG and her Legendary if you have it because it is worth the shards to become a ranged character at lvl 7. Other than that go heal power or survivability gear.
Yes, I know what you’re thinking: “This guy just lost all credibility because he just recommended Deande, the character who can’t top the charts in any category. Shucks, better move on to the next forum topic.” But let me tell you that Deande has some perks that no other character can bring to the table. If an Oscar Mike goes down near the core and nobody is around to revive him, did the team wipe? Nope, because Deande is sneaking in and her holotwin is fighting off the masses(for a second before dying, but A for effort). All 3 of the bosses and all of the big enemies can be juggled constantly in an indefinite knockup combo if you have her uppercut unlocked, making her another menace who can run around and pick off bad guys all on her own. If these two utilities weren’t enough for you, then you can resort to the ancient secret of expanding your roster. What’s easier than 4-5 battleborn fighting off waves of enemies? If you answered 7-8 battleborn fighting off waves of enemies, then you are correct. Note to DEV’s: this is not a request to patch this (though I’m sure you will soon), because it doesn’t work in PvP and is loads of fun to use (in moderation) in PvE. If you grab the helix choice at lvl 10 to make it so your ult spawns a clone, use it on an enemy, then immediately use your holotwin ability you will spawn what the game thinks is another player. This can be done safely around 3 times before the server puts you in the twilight zone where bosses twerk between phases and using uppercut will put you on an elevator that never goes down before disconnecting you and refusing to acknowledge you were in that game (sorry to those two public groups who I screwed over testing this). Only use it at the final area as the “players” you spawn only like fighting enemies who are pretty close.
Noteworthy Helix Choices: Uppercut at lvl 3 to make big enemies and bosses cry while kleese and ambra laugh and let them soak up their debuffs and damage. Dopplegangup at lvl 10 for the reason described above…again use with caution.
Gear: FSG and attack speed gear to get that combo going quicker.
(Wasn’t in our group but if I had to take a pick) Marquis
Marquis with green bar connection and proper hand-eye coordination is a godsend. Those pesky thrall brutes coming around? Done in 2-3 well placed rounds to the noggin. Enemies somehow got past the sunspots and rifts? boom hit with an AOE owl (AOwlE?) or a slow bubble. He’s also a warp anchor’s worst nightmare. He is probably best in the little circle up the stairs overlooking the area just outside of the core, as it is an optimal range for him to send out his owls as they are needed as well as his temporal distortion. You just have to be very careful of enemies spawning behind you and sneaking up while you are looking down scope. All in all, he really helps thin out the crowd.
Noteworthy Helix Choices: Phaseflyer at lvl 2 to make sure the enemies can’t possibly juke your owls. Time Killer at lvl 4 to pour more damage onto enemies dumb enough to go near your defenses. Efficiency Expert at lvl 5 because you don’t have time to get that bonus out of a third shot when that scaven is chewing on the core. Parliametnary, My Dear at lvl 6 to make it the 12 days of christmas for the incoming waves (5 owls bombing, 4 rifts-a-ripping, 3 sunspots searing, 2 deande “clones”, and a space laser gunning for meee…) Windfall at lvl 8 to just make the enemies drop their controller in anger of how bullsh*t the damage received was. Time to Spare at lvl 9 because the AI don’t seem to care if it is 2% or 50% speed they are getting slowed for, they just give up and moonwalk anyway.
Gear: FSG and crit damage or attack speed gear.
Well that’s all I had to say about that, though I may have left things out there since I kind of just wrote everything that came to mind as I sat here for a while. It really helps to have a mic and talk to people to explain easier ways to do things or to prevent mistakes in general. I hope it was helpful and if not, I hope you enjoyed yourself and can give any pointers that I maybe missed or didn’t get fully right. I hope this guide helps people have a better understanding of the level, how to beat it, or at the very least not be that guy who got blamed for not knowing what to do. If you have any questions about this topic or maybe some in game tips in general (like I said, I’ve no-life’d this game the past month and have played just about everything), you can ask either here or shoot me a message on XB1. My GT is M1lky M1lk.